Helping Patients Get Back On Their Feet

For Geoff Watson, M.D., a foot and ankle surgeon at the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, caring for patients with lower extremity injuries comes naturally. During his first month of residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, his dad suffered a tendon injury, and he learned firsthand the importance of proper diagnosis and care. “A few weeks into my residency, my dad had an Achilles tendon rupture that was misdiagnosed, and he went about four weeks before realizing the tendon was torn and another two weeks before surgery,” Watson said. “Because the treatment timeline was delayed, he ended up having a bigger surgery and a longer recovery process. Since then, I’ve worked with and learned from many well-respected foot and ankle specialists and am passionate about the treatment options available.” At the Institute, new procedures are getting patients moving more quickly with less pain.

Typical Injuries

While Watson says he treats patients of all ages for foot and ankle problems, there tends to be a pattern between age groups and common injuries. “I see patients of all ages come in for ankle fractures, whether from a fall or some sort of trauma,” Watson said. “We often see tendon ruptures in the weekend warriors ages 30 to 40, then bunions for patients 40 and up, and finally arthritis and other degenerative issues with older patients.” Treatment for these injuries ranges from physical therapy to surgery; but Watson says the Institute is using new procedures and technology, like preoperative CT scans and cutting models, to help patients recover more fully, faster.

Innovative Procedures

Achilles Tendon Repair

Achilles tendon ruptures can be debilitating; but luckily, they can be repaired surgically to get patients back to full function. While most Achilles tendon ruptures occur while playing sports, any sudden pressure can cause an injury, and more minor tears may be treated without surgery. Watson is using a new technique called “percutaneous Achilles tendon repair” that limits scarring and the risk factors. “With this new technique, we’re making a very small incision to do the repair instead of an open surgery,” Watson said. “Because the incision is smaller, there’s less trauma and less chance of complications.”

Total Ankle Replacement

For patients with severe arthritis, total ankle replacements can offer significant relief, and Watson has a particular specialty performing this procedure. “An ankle replacement is similar to a hip or knee replacement in that it significantly lowers patients’ pain, and arthritis is commonly the diagnosis that leads to this kind of procedure,” Watson said. “This procedure has the upper hand over other surgeries that can limit a patient’s range of motion and put pressure on surrounding joints, potentially leading to complications down the road.” After a total ankle replacement, Watson says, the recovery process typically includes six weeks of keeping weight off the ankle and then four weeks of physical therapy ramping up to full weight bearing.

When To Visit The Institute

While Watson encourages any patient who has a foot or ankle injury or problem like arthritis to visit an orthopedic specialist, he says it’s especially important when there is a concern of fracture or a potential tendon injury. “Fractures or Achilles tendon ruptures are injuries that, if missed, can be more difficult to fix later on and lead to a significantly longer recovery time,” Watson said. “If there’s a doubt, come visit a specialist and we can ensure it’s treated properly the first time.”

About Geoff Watson, M.D.

Geoffrey Watson, M.D., is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and a graduate of the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center. He completed a residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and his fellowship training in foot and ankle at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, N.Y., the top orthopaedic hospital in the country. He has assisted in orthopaedic care for the Ole Miss Rebels, New York Knicks and New York Giants. Watson is a past team physician for the Fairview High School Yellow Jackets, and is the current team physician for the Franklin High School Rebels. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (615) 791-2630.